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8 living room painting ideas you’ll love

If you’ve been living in your home for a while, you’ll most likely feel the need to start giving it a spruce-up. A great area to consider is the living room. Giving your living room a DIY makeover will certainly improve your home and show off your personal style in the process. We give you several ideas below to create a new feel, new character, and even a brand-new look. These modern painting techniques will help your living room come alive and add some character to your home.

Sunny living room with blue wall, chair, and desk
Boris SV/Getty Images


Adding some stencil designs to your wall will create some eye-catching designs that will make your living room look pretty sharp. You can make custom stencils of your own by cutting contact paper into whatever shape or design you like, then paint over the stencil. We really like the cut, pounce, and peel process that’s great for all kinds of projects. If you’re a DIY guy or gal, this process is right up your alley.

Accent Wall

An accent wall is painted a different color to provide a contrast with the other walls in the room. Think one navy blue or burgundy wall with white ones. You won’t necessarily have to redo your entire living room, since this one change could transform it. An advantage you have is that there’s some flexibility — if you want to change the color, it’s just one wall. Compare and contrast paint samples to determine which color will work, as well as give consideration to the room’s lighting and how it will affect the contrast.

Framing Silhouettes

Framing silhouettes can be a great canvas for you to fill them up with vases, artwork, photographs, travel mementos, and books. Silhouettes can be anything from large geometric shapes in a specific color block to more intricate designs that resemble natural subjects or a city skyline. As opposed to a mural, these silhouettes on a wall are meant to be a framing device for anything you want. For example, if you have a gallery wall of family photos, a large diagonal silhouette against the wall will give the placement of your pictures a sense of movement.

Color Washing

Color washing is a form of glaze painting or faux painting where you place a layer of glaze over a base color. Then, use sponges, stippling brushes, or rags to create a texture that crawls across the wall to make for an interesting heathered look. This technique works best when you use a color with a greater gradient. Darker cool colors will give a subtle effect that makes the cool tones pop even more. If you want to go for a lighter color, using a pastel or softer version of that color will make sure that the contrast stays soft between the glazed layer and base later.

Ombre Walls

Ombre is a color effect where you have a color slowly transition into white. This gradient effect creates a bright wall with an interesting movement that will capture your guests’ attention. You can achieve this with a gradient that is more gradual and smoother. You can also choose to make it more textured by using sponge brushes or impasto techniques to create a raised texture. This kind of wall art will work best with thinner walls and can become a great accent that can complement or contrast the living room furniture.

Wall Stamping

Wall stamping is an alternative to wall stencils if you are looking for specific patterns. This technique is great for when you want designs that are smaller and more convenient than a wall stencil. All you need to do is roll on the paint and give a strong press, then you have an interesting design. You can also bring this across a wall to create an eye-catching motif.


The strié technique is a classic faux-painting style that is making a comeback into modern living rooms everywhere. The look is achieved by glazing a wall, then dragging a wallpaper paste brush down the still-wet glaze. This gives off a striped look that is soft and textured without the harsh lines of a conventional striped wall. The light contrast between the base and the glaze colors makes for an interesting effect that is pleasing without becoming a jarring difference.

With one (or all) of our suggestions, it is best to transform your living room by combing it with your own personal style. If you have the time, this could be a DIY project for you and your partner. Happy revamping and reviving!

Modern living room with yellow couch and gray rug
asbe/Getty Images

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Tom Warnick
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Tom has worked been a writer and editor for several years, working at the Starlog Group, Billboard, Bed Bath & Beyond…
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